PLDT's MVP Abandons ABS-CBN SkyCable Bid
SkyCable is still up for grabs.
PLDT’s CEO Manny Pangilinan is dropping out of the race to buy SkyCable from ABS-CBN Corporation.
In a virtual briefing, the tycoon disclosed PLDT’s withdrawal from the bidding process after PLDT’s legal team reviewed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Law. They found that under the new law, the anti-monopoly body Philippine Competition Commission could reverse agreements one year after the act was made law.
Through MediaQuest Holdings, PLDT is the operator of Cignal TV Inc., a competitor of SkyCable’s paid TV. Had the deal pushed through, PLDT would have had a near monopoly on satellite television in the Philippines. It would have also increased its broadband internet reach as SkyCable also has internet products.
“Upon review of Bayanihan Act 2, the PCC [Philippine Competition Commission] has the ability to review merger and acquisitions one year after the effectivity of the act and possibly reverse agreements. That’s the main reason,” explained Pangilinan in a virtual briefing.
It’s a risk that PLDT is not willing to take. Pangilinan went on to say, “The prospect of divestment might be real so we decided not to attract the rise.”
The cautious approach is not surprising after ABS-CBN Corporation experienced an unprecedented year of turmoil after its broadcast franchise was rejected by Congress, forcing the company to lay off workers and even put SkyCable up for bidding in an effort to make up for losses.
After the closure of ABS-CBN’s broadcast channels, PLDT’s media arm, TV5, invited the network’s artists and journalists to transfer to TV5. TV5 is an asset of MVP-led MediaQuest, which also runs Business World and the Philippine Star.
"PLDT's bid was unsolicited and withdrawing their bid is their prerogative. This has no impact on the operations of Sky Cable," said Kane Errol Choa, head of corporate communications at ABS-CBN Corporation.
Despite dropping out of the SkyCable bid, PLDT is still having a strong 2020. The telco reported a P19.7 billion income from the first nine months of this year, up 23 percent from the same period last year.